Russian police arrest three in connection with subway bombing

As part of a sweeping hunt for any accomplices of the St. Petersburg suicide bomber, investigators Wednesday rounded up seven suspected Islamic State recruiters from the Central Asia region of the former Soviet Union but found no immediate evidence of their involvement in the subway attack.

An unidentified law enforcement official told the Tass news agency that investigators were checking information that Dzhalilov may have trained with the Islamic State group in Syria.

A spokesman for the Kyrgyz GKNB security service identified the suspect as Russian citizen Akbarzhon Jalilov, 22.

The identification of Kyrgyz-born ethnic Uzbek Akbarjon Jalilov as the bombing suspect stoked fears of police action targeting migrants from Central Asia and the Caucasus.

Within two hours of the blast, authorities had found and deactivated another bomb at another busy station, Vosstaniya Square, the anti-terror agency said. Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev was expected to sign a new order later Wednesday tightening security on subway systems around the country, Interfax reported. That metro inspector contacted bomb experts and led people away from the area, St. Petersburg Gov. Georgy Poltavchenko said Tuesday. It's still unclear if the suspected bomber has any direct ties to radical Islamic groups.

In a statement Russia's Investigative Committee said that "objects relevant to the investigation were found during the search of the apartment where these people lived".

The discovery of the explosives raises the possibility that a string of bomb attacks was being planned in the city involving a group of plotters.

People lay flowers at the Technology Institute subway station in St. Petersburg, Russia, on Tuesday.

Authorities would not confirm whether the couple were Jalilov's parents but the woman, in response to a Russian TV reporter's question, said she did not believe her son was the bomber.

On Tuesday, the death toll from the bombing in the Saint Petersburg metro blast rose to 14, authorities said.

Astrakhan regional police said the incident occurred at about 1:00am local time (2200 GMT) after traffic police were dispatched to the scene of an accident.

"Our countries face many other threats too, including organized crime and drug trafficking, corruption, and the impact of forces acting from outside and attempting in one way or another to influence internal political developments in our countries", said Putin.

Mr Putin thanked Mr Trump for the expression of solidarity, the Kremlin said, adding that the two leaders voiced a shared view that "terrorism is an evil that must be fought jointly".

  • Zachary Reyes